It was where the “desktop revolution” – and the enabling WIMP-based personal computers – began. Now Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center is being gifted to a foundation for further research.
Established in the 1970s as a private university ”without limits”, Xerox PARC was the place where many of the best ideas behind desktop were hatched. And famously, where a walk-though by Apple’s Steve Jobs inspired the Macintosh, with its “windows-icons-mouse-pulldown menus (WIMP)” interface.
It’s also credited with the origins of Postscript, the laserwriter, Ethernet, fibre optics and more, with a number of major developers emerging from it.
Xerox has agreed to donate the PARC subsidiary to non-profit research institute SRI International, enabling it to focus on its core businesses and “prioritise growth through its business technology solutions for customers in print, as well as digital and IT services”.
Xerox will enter into a preferred research agreement in which SRI will provide contracted research and development services.
The company says the donation will allow PARC to “reach its full potential” through SRI’s resources and deep-tech expertise that will enable PARC to focus exclusively on the development of pioneering new technologies. The majority of patents held by PARC will be retained by Xerox with a perpetual license to use those patents being provided to SRI.
Xerox chief executive Steve Bandrowczak said PARC and its employees had been at the forefront of “some of the world’s most important technological developments” for more than half a century.
“Xerox will forever be proud of PARC's role in our history and its continued innovation that solves the world’s most pressing challenges.”
The company posted first quarter revenue of $US1.72 billion, up 2.8 per cent year-over-year, with equipment sales revenue up 24 per cent to $US391 million.